Lightroom Tips

Friday Tip – Deleting your rejects

Hey everyone. I thought to myself this morning that I could go out at the crack of dawn and buy a bunch of cheap stuff that I didn’t really need or… I could stay home and write a tip for the blog. I chose to sleep in and do the latter 🙂 So…part of managing your library is getting rid of the photos that shouldn’t be there, right?. I know… I know… sometimes it’s hard because we get emotional about the photos and keep ones that maybe shouldn’t be there. However, no matter how great of a photographer you are there’s undoubtedly a handful (or more) of photos that are just out of focus, blurry, or the subject has their eyes closed. Well here’s something to help you get rid of them quickly. First, I go through the Library module and press the letter X (for Reject) on any photo that needs to go. Then, when you’re all done, go up to the Photo menu and choose Delete Rejected Photos. You’ll get a dialog asking if you want to remove them from the Library (which leaves them on your computer) or if you want to delete them from your computer all together. I usually delete from the computer because I don’t want them taking up space on my hard drive. Here’s the thing. I’ll generally do this when I first import my photos to reduce the amount of photos I manage. However, I’ll often go through older folders a month or two (or six) later and do it again. I always find photos later on that I realize I should have deleted earlier. Well that wraps up another week. Have a great weekend!



  1. ANdy 28 January, 2008 at 08:39 Reply

    I think I have a better way to delete unwanted photos. After the import give every keeper a star rating of 1-5. Then filter to show only photos with at least a 1 star rating. Select all. Now click the single star to remove the filter and show all the photos you just imported (make sure only the ones you just worked on are showing). Then click on “edit” and “inverse selection.” Now all the unwanted images are selected. Right click on one of them and choose “Delete photos.” I always choose “Remove from disk” (what’s the point otherwise).

  2. Deena 6 January, 2008 at 00:44 Reply


    Can you cover deleting virtual copies? Does it work the same way?

    And, I’d love to see more coverage of workflow related to cropping. I wonder what folks do. I usually work on my main RAW file and then make virtual copies for different effects or for different size crops. The other way to do that is to take snapshots of different crops. Either way, I can’t easily see from the Library module what crop is on a photo.

    I’m wondering how people handle this and whether they are consistent.

  3. June Andersen 4 January, 2008 at 20:31 Reply

    Could you please advise what size my previews should be on import, I have three choices – minimal, standard or 1:1. I’m shooting in raw would this mean that 1:1 is the better choice.

  4. Joel Christoffersson 8 December, 2007 at 08:04 Reply

    This tip is great, but is there a command to regret the rejection? I mean, if I reject a photo, but don’t want to regret it. I can press the flag, but when I’m using the keyboard I don’t want to use the mouse 😉

  5. Barbara 28 November, 2007 at 16:34 Reply

    Hey All,
    Love the LR Tip Room Matt.

    So, what if I had also had LR copy a backup to an external drive at the time of import; will those backups be deleted too or do we need to dump those in some other step?

  6. skedonk 26 November, 2007 at 19:22 Reply

    Thanks for the many tips, including this one.

    I indeed use the X (and finish with ctrl+backspace) lots, since it is a much faster way to go through the photos.

    Obviously, many photos from a shoot are in the gray area. That is, not bad enough to throw but not good enough to justify a full resolution RAW file. It would be great if Lightroom had an option to convert them to a smaller file (e.g. lower resolution RAW or JPG).

  7. MFin 26 November, 2007 at 12:12 Reply

    Hi everyone,

    Matt – sorry we are turning your website into a communication vehicle… I just wanted to respond to to Glyn who had answered my question. Thanks so much for addressing it, although I have always marked “stack with original” and LR moves the entire stack to the end of my folder…

    Thanks again,
    – Marina

  8. miguel duarte 26 November, 2007 at 11:59 Reply

    Got here from Photoshop TV, and in 1/2 an hour I was converted from Bridge to Lightroom – why did it take me so long?!? Except… no CMYK? Why? Or am I doing something wrong?

    Congratulations on a great site, and wonderful content,


  9. Craig Herold 25 November, 2007 at 13:05 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Ok I inderstand the reject(removal) but you can set lightroom so that it automatically creates a backup when you import a group of photos. How do you set it so the photo is also removed from that drive?

  10. Glyn Dewis 24 November, 2007 at 12:53 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Hope you don’t mind but if I may answer Marina’s question for you….

    Marina, when you export an image into photoshop by CMD/CTRL + E you are presented with a dialogue box giving you three options (i.e. export original etc..). At the bottom of this dialogue box is a tick box with the words “Stack with Original” … if you ensure there is a tick in here it will reman in the same order when you bring it back into Photoshop.

    Hope that helps, and thanks Matt,

  11. Michael Brant 24 November, 2007 at 10:59 Reply

    I think you have to be in the folder view to get the option to remove from disk. Any other views, such as selected by keyword, and you just get the option to remove from the catalog.

  12. Balliolman 24 November, 2007 at 10:39 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for this and your other tips! Here is another unrelated question for you…

    When double processing a RAW image in Develop is it possible to send the file to Photoshop as a Smart Object? (In other words getting LR to somehow work like ACR when the keystroke Shift changes the Open Image button to Open Object.)

    I hope you can figure a killer tip for this! 🙂

  13. MFin 23 November, 2007 at 16:31 Reply

    Unrelated questions… I’ve been struggling with finding a solution…
    When you edit a photo in External Editor, i.e. Photosthop CS3, and opt to stack with original, when Lightroom brings it in, the entire stack ends up at the end of your folder. Is it possible to keep it in the same order as your original import?
    Many thanks,

  14. Tim 23 November, 2007 at 14:33 Reply

    If you set the Caps Lock on then when you press the X,P,or U key LR advances to the next photo. Plus after picking all the rejects. Press the backspace key and get a dialog box giving you the option of deleting or just removing from the catalog ( in case you have a really hard time letting go!).

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